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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

I haven’t fasted much in my Christian life because I’ve been pregnant or nursing almost the whole time. But last week, I ate and ate (ad nauseum, literally), to the point that I gained two pounds. This is quite unlike me, so by Monday night I realized that something was off, that I was either stuffing emotion or the memory of some event or SOMETHING, and it was robbing me of freedom. Monday night, I felt the Lord ask me to fast on Tuesday.

Now, given that I am the sole nutritional support for an infant, I knew I couldn’t fast food altogether. No matter what spiritual breakthrough I’m looking for, nothing is more important than making sure my baby is getting good nutrition. That said, I trust that my God wouldn’t ask me to fast if I were going to harm my sweet baby.

Liquids only, I decided, starting with a n-a-s-t-y smoothie made with chia seed, carrots, spinach, Vitamineral Green, and hemp protein powder (covering my nutritional bases). If you’ve never fasted, you wouldn’t believe how strong the psychological urge is just to chew. Remove it, focus that energy on God, spend some time in worship, and the spiritual fires will be blazing in no time (at least in my limited experience).

Then in the afternoon, Jesus came. He broke through and showed me a truth that I’ve been avoiding big time. He took this awful thing, which is now an unavoidable truth, and made it bearable. I can say, “Thank You” for the truth, ugly as it is, as He promised that I only have to face it because He is going to use it. I don’t know how, or when or even why, but indeed His promise is enough.

And so it goes; my appetite has returned to normal, I’ve lost 2.5 lbs in the last two days eating a normal amount, and God is still good. Because this is an intensely private thing Jesus is walking me through, I’m not sure how much I’ll blog about it. I’m here, and we’re ok, it’s just deep water.

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The Voyage of Childhood by Thomas Cole

 

As a child, I needed child-like things, but I didn’t usually get them. I needed spur-of-the-moment snuggles, to have my hair smoothed and my back scratched. I needed to be enjoyed. For lack of it, I decided to do what I was told, to “grow up.”

I beat my needs to a bloody mass inside of me, mercilessly pounding every juvenile thought into submission. I put on a false, heavy maturity and tried to convince myself that those things I longed for were silly and unnecessary.

But children’s games and songs prepare children to grow up. They lay firm foundations. A mother’s lullabies remind her baby that, no matter whether the bough breaks, “From the high rooftops, Down to the sea, No one’s as dear, As baby to me.” Hide-and-seek reminds little ones that gone for a moment doesn’t mean gone forever. And we begin to trust.

Most of the time I feel like an empty slip of a thing, insides dried out and hollow. If I am touched too forcefully, I crumble like the petals of a long-ago given flower. So how do I return to fullness?

Only Living Water can come and begin to soak through these parched places. These mental roads are heavy trod, following well established pathways and oft-used trails.

What I want is a flood, water falling so heavy that it washes away my crosswise routes. I think this won’t work that way — I would be overcome, sputter, cough, and drown in the too-muchness of it all. Indeed, it is the persistent drip drip drop that carves Truth into my mind.

Drip

You are my very own.

Drip

You are a treasure.

Drop

There’s more to you than this.

Liquid love cascading into my petrified places. It is gentle, but unrelenting. Love accounts for my weakness, but won’t bow to my fear.

In time, the bourns will widen into streams, streams of living water. My barren places will be transformed by the inexhaustible love, the unfathomable grace, of my Jesus.

It stops me dead, this sound of grace. Every time I hear it perch by my ear, I must stop. Listen deep. Draw in. I must believe, drop by priceless drop.

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The Not-So-Casual Observer (NSCO) asked me last session what my personality type is. Interestingly, I’d taken a test that same day because I hadn’t in quite a few years. I’ve always scored INFJ, but now I’m slightly favoring ISTJ. That is, I’m strongly introverted and strongly a judger, but now I lean a bit more toward sensing and thinking rather than intuiting and feeling.

Earlier in the week I felt like God was speaking to me about the Myers-Briggs type, saying I was more “real” before I was a Christian, and that in the last five years I’ve ceased to be who I really am in all of my striving to get this religion thing right.

I don’t have a cutesy segue, so just humor me, OK? The book I had for homework this week is called The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, and it talks about the role natural birth plays in bonding mother to child.

Then, during my reading today, I had this lovely moment of clarity. I birth like the person I am inside. You can’t fight birth; it’s too primal, too personal, too intimate to make up an on-the-spot personality, especially when you’re experiencing significant pain.

I birth head-on, taking each contraction as it comes, reminding myself to relax and breathe and that I will survive. You can’t fake that response, it’s real. It’s real, and it’s inside of me. It’s who I am.

The beauty of that is I know that it is part of me, the one who lives organically, in the “unforced rhythms of grace.” It’s so beautiful to know that there is within me the very person I long to see. That is grace.

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Obligation

Photo from FoundationsofMorality.com

I had counseling today for the first time in six weeks, and it was a doozy. After all, we had to get through Christmas, losing my job, and the reintroduction of my father into my life. The one word that kept coming was up obligation.

I feel obligated to have a relationship with my father. I feel obligated to do the Bible study that starts at the end of the month. I feel obligated to practice Christianity a given way. I feel obligated to have a certain amount of quiet time and Bible reading and…and…and…

Obligation. We had a discussion about not letting a gifting (my ability to study, process, and apply information to my life) become a crutch. We talked about not letting people shame me when I don’t do something they feel I should. We talked about a lot.

At the end of the day, my homework came down to do doing nothing (Bible study, quiet time, church, “Christianity”) out of obligation. For three months. Holy crap, I’m terrified.

It’s all in an effort to get to know myself, to get to know Jesus and I want that desperately. Who would I be without all of the rules that keep me safe and tucked away in a blanket of religion?

So far, the winter Bible study is out, and obligatory Bible reading is axed. I’m supposed to just sit with Jesus during my quiet time. I’m scared, but I’m in.

I’m all in.

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